Are You Really Ready For a Relationship?
By Susan Sheppard
So often I hear, I want a boyfriend, I’m married but I’m not happy. I just got divorced and I don’t want to make
the same mistake again. When will I find someone? It occurred to me recently that in order to be in a relationship
that works, it’s necessary to be ready to enter one. I know that sounds really simple, but if we look at our
national divorce rate, you can see that it is not simple.
In fact, I seriously doubt that many people consider their readiness for marriage or relationship of any sort. I
think the average scenario goes something like this. He is attracted to how she looks. She is attracted to his
energy and productivity. They start dating and eventually she thinks it might be a good idea to get married. He
goes along because he is sure it’s going to get him regular sex and then all their friends and relatives get
excited about their wedding. They have a big celebration and then they start to realize there is more to marriage
than living together. Please forgive me for the offensive simplification of this scenario. It is merely an
My awareness heightened when I began working with clients who were in a state of chaos. They were in various
stages of post relationship survival. Their finances were in a shambles. Some were broken hearted, with no
self-esteem, out of work, wondering what to do about their rent and utilities payments and seeking coaching about
their relationships. Many, I think, were planning on having a new relationship rescue him/her from impending
disaster. I started to think about parameters for readiness in relationship. What specific standards and status
should be the baseline? What exactly constitutes readiness? What is definite is that nothing is definite. So where
do we start?
First is desire. The desire to be part of something is manifested in relationship. You can’t be “in”
relationship unless you want to be. Partnership demands a serious time commitment, one on one conversations,
planning, dating, socializing, compromising, making love, having sex, playing, working, sleeping, having children
and raising them, shopping, cleaning house. Granted, some of these things you would do even if you were not in
relationship. However, once you are seriously committed, as in living together, every one of the above -mentioned
tasks involves agreement and participation by both partners.
Even prior to living together, finding someone you are willing to try being in relationship with is practically
a full time job. So many of the people that I talk with in my work, tell me, I just don’t have the energy to go
through the process of dating and getting to know someone well enough to feel comfortable being authentic and
intimate. Don’t you agree that many people settle for what they have, even if unsatisfying, because it’s just too
much work to change it?
Those that I have coached all the way to marriage and beyond have been serious about getting married. They
wanted it, they were willing to do whatever it takes to find and enroll the right partner. They also do whatever it
takes to maintain the level of passion and intimacy, production and appetite that are necessary to sustain a
healthy, vibrant, satisfying relationship. In other words, they do not assume that once you are in a “marriage” or
“committed relationship” that IT will take care of itself.
One seemingly unrelated concept that has forever been an annoyance has to do with loan applications. Bear with
me on this. Whenever you submit a loan or credit application, the first response of the lender is to check your
credit and your financial picture. If it appears that you need money for any reason, the likelihood of approval for
financing is almost nil. However, if you appear financially stable with plenty of unused credit and a steady job
and money in savings, every financial institution is clamoring to lend you money. So how does this relate?
It is my opinion, that love and relationship operate in the same way. Let’s say you go to the love bank and ask
for a boyfriend/girlfriend, a serious one perhaps leading to marriage. The love bank manager takes a look at you
and says. You work too much, you spend all of your money, your credit cards are maxed-out, you have diminished self
esteem and a broken heart from the last one, you’re physically and emotionally bankrupt, and you don’t trust
anyone. REJECTED!!! Now, you are really in need of someone to save you so you continue looking at all of the B and
C rated love lenders, bars, pick up joints, work, internet dating services, personal ads until you find someone who
is as needy as you are. You need someone to rebuild your self-esteem and reassure you that you are indeed
Although I have never been fond of credit reporting agencies and the use of their information by lending
institutions, there is some validity in their strategy that is applicable to relationship coaching. In order to be
ready for a serious relationship, one must achieve the following:
1. Desire to be in relationship
2. Self – esteem. Know that you are attractive and have something to offer another person.
3. Financial stability. At least enough income to take care of your housing and basic needs and minimal credit
4. Work. A job that satisfies some of your achievement needs.
5. Vulnerability. Enough healing that you are able to share your authentic self with this person.
6. Love. An abundance for yourself with enough left over to share with another person.
I am not saying that you must be in perfect shape. What I am saying, however, is that you will attract a person
who is your balance, someone who has the same or different issues in the same proportions. If you are needy, you
will attract neediness. If you have intimacy issues you will attract someone who is shut down. So it is in your
best interests to undertake a personal redevelopment plan prior to looking for a relationship. Be the best you that
you can be to offer to another person. This seems to be a great way to start the new year. Funny, how it usually
happens that someone who has been taking extraordinary care of themselves and not looking for a relationship
suddenly finds him/herself in love.
Relationship coaching is life coaching. Life becomes extraordinary when we discover that being absolutely
committed to taking care of ourselves, leads to abundance in every aspect of our lives.
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